Here’s the Record of the Week: Remix. That’s what we’re calling this series during Pride Month, to acknowledge how queer dance clubs have been crucial spaces for self-expression and musical innovation, like remixing, while we highlight new work from artists like S.G. Goodman, who have vivid imaginations and multifaceted identities.
A week ago, she released her second album, Teeth Marks. It’s a work that leaves its imprint with Southern accented songs that are as refined as they are resolute, and vivid depictions of the many kinds of wounds that people carry around with them. The insight the Goodman brings to this album, she’s collected as a proud rural Kentucky dweller, a farmer’s daughter aligned with working people, an openly queer woman and a shrewd observer of human nature. I asked her to recount what helped her form and expand the worldview that animates her new music.
S.G. Goodman: Growing up in Hickman, Kentucky, one of the things that I remember most fondly was how we would pass time. And one way we would do that is by telling stories. And so I pride myself in claiming that I was taught how to tell a story by the best storytellers, probably on a back porch somewhere, looking out across farmland.
I have of two brothers; I’m the middle child. And my father would plant an acre of sweet corn each for us every summer, and we would be responsible for picking our acre of sweet corn and peddling the corn in order to buy our school supplies for the next year. It wasn’t until I was in college and had become friends with people from different walks of life that I realized how rare my childhood was, or how different it was. Even though that was the time in my life where I would become more comfortable accepting myself as a queer woman, I also had to understand the complexity of being a queer woman from a very small place and accepting that my worldview and context of how I grew up also shaped my limitations in language and in experience. It’s been a really a privilege to get to experience so many different people from different walks of life and culture through music and through traveling with my band. But I think it’s always important for me to let people know that I’m learning too.
From my debut album, Old Time Feeling, I remember writing the title track, and I felt with that song and who I wanted to be as an artist was someone who was from a very small, rural place as an insider, who took it upon themselves to tell their own stories.
Teeth Marks is a departure from Old Time Feeling, because I feel like Old Time Feeling, that record was more broad strokes across my outlook of what was outside of my window, whereas on Teeth Marks, I get a little bit more personal. I pushed myself to see what it would be like to get really close to my work and what I was talking about, and not stand back in the safety of it, for lack of better words, not hurting as bad to comment on it and acknowledge it myself.